The 23-year-old Oklahoma man who defended his home with an AR-15 against three teen intruders will not face charges, local media reports.
On Monday, Wagoner County Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp said that Zachary Peters acted lawfully when he shot and killed Maxwell Cook, 18, Jacob Redfern, 18, and Jakob Woodruff, 15, after the trio forced their way into his Broken Arrow residence on March 27.
“It is the opinion of this office that Zachary Peters acted justifiably … when he used deadly force to defend his home,” said Thorp at a press conference.
Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott echoed the prosecutor’s assessment of the case.
“We support the right of our citizens, the right to bear arms and to defend their homes,” Elliott said. “In this such case, we feel strongly that’s what took place here.”
The three teens were wearing masks, hoodies, and gloves during the break-in. They were also armed with brass knuckles and a knife.
The group’s alleged getaway driver, 21-year-old Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, now faces a slew of charges, including three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of burglary.
Under Oklahoma’s “Felony Murder” law, one can be charged with a murder if they participate in the commission of a felony in which other people are killed, even if that individual does not take part in the killing.
Rodriguez, a mother of three children, has acknowledged that after the group robbed another residence earlier that day, she drove the teens to the Peters’ home and waited outside in the car.
“I understand he (Peters) protected his home,” Rodriguez told television station KOTV. “He had his rights.”
But she said that Peters should have shot the teens in the legs. “He’s at the bottom of my list to be compassionate for,” she said.
In another interview with ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir,” Rodriguez said she won’t bear the legal brunt for the killing of her crew.
“I won’t take responsibility for the murders, I won’t. I feel guilty, but I don’t feel responsible,” said a teary-eyed Rodriguez, who, if convicted, may receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
No bond has been set for Rodriguez. She is due in court for an initial appearance on April 5. In the meantime, she remains in Wagoner County Jail.